Pitt came into today's game as an underdog against top-seeded Florida. A loss wasn't unexpected but the way the Panthers were manhandled in the second half was.
Pitt lost 61-45 and gave up another chance to get to a Sweet 16. I said this in the game thread, but Pitt needed to play a great game against Florida to win. Not only didn't they do that, they didn't even play very well. 37% shooting from the field, being outrebounded by seven, 11 turnovers while forcing only six, three made free throws. There's just not enough there.
The Panthers really just seemed to run out of gas more than anything else. Any team can play with a good squad for a half, but it's hard to do that for an entire game. Florida was the better team and the longer the game went on, the more it showed.
And speaking of not enough, someone should put out 'Wanted' posters for a few of Dixon's guys. Lamar Patterson was 3-11 and went for eight points - less than half his season average. Mike Young and four points and one rebound. James Robinson had one point. Cam Wright was 3-10 with seven points. None of those guys did enough and considering that's 4/5 of the starting lineup, there's your game in a nutshell.
Patterson is really the one that makes you want to pull your hair out. This guy is the star of the team and if we're being fair, he had a very good season. But he's really disappeared when Pitt needed him most this year. Over the last four games, he averaged only about 11 points a game and didn't shoot well in any of them, making only 35% of his shots. Patterson either fell completely apart or isn't fully healthy. I don't know which it is, but in either case, Pitt really could have used him.
The biggest complaint I have with Patterson is getting off to slow starts. That happened again today and it wasn't the first time. How many times have we said that, after all?
In the end, the season ends because of a simple fact we've pointed out all year long. Pitt is a good team, not a great one. They were able to blow through a weak non-conference schedule, win most of the games they were supposed to in conference, and lost to most of the better teams they played. With three true freshmen playing big minutes and the loss of their sixth man to a season-ending injury, some of that really was to be expected.
The loss shouldn't be that frustrating given the circumstances, but ... well, it is. I said this earlier as well, but this was a real opportunity to give the program a much-needed boost. They haven't been to the Sweet 16 in a while and the past three years with the early exits and CBI trip have just been overly annoying. A win here really would have put Pitt back into the national spotlight again and gotten people talking again.
Another missed opportunity.
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